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This date went down in infamy…twice

8 Dec

John Lennon had a Japanese wife and they were both strongly opposed to war. So isn’t it ironic that he was killed on the thirty-ninth anniversary of the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor?

On 1941 December 8th, the 日本海軍 (Japanese Imperial Navy) attacked the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (It was December 8 on the Japanese calendar but since Hawaii is on the other side of the International Date Line, it was December 7th there).

It’s the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Also on this date thirty-nine years later John Lennon of the English rock band, The Beatles, was assassinated in New York.

Today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

Click here to read a more detailed post that I wrote about these two events

Leaders first meeting

26 Sep

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, went to New York yesterday and had his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

For the U.S., the issue of Japan continued help with the “War On Terrorism” is of top concern.
For Japan, it’s the issue of reducing the number of the U.S. military stationed in Japan…and abolishing nuclear weapons in the world.

But for this first meeting, the only major issue raised was about ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
Both Hatoyama and Obama said that they’d like to see an end to the nuclear threat in the world.

As the only country that has ever been attacked by nuclear weapons, this issue is important to Japan.
Prime Minister Hatoyama reiterated Japan’s stance that all nuclear weapons should be abolished and invited the the American president to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he comes to Tokyo next November.

No U.S. President has ever visited Hiroshima or Nagasaki .

On the TV

31 Aug

At the moment, all that is on the TV in Japan is either the 台風 (typhoon) that is hitting the Tokyo area today, and the national election results.

Tokyo is in the path of the approaching typhoon.

Tokyo is in the path of the approaching typhoon.

Be careful if you’re on the east coast of Japan and you have to go out today.
The weather will be bad all day today, but it’s forecast to be nice tomorrow (normally, after a typhoon passes the sky is very clear).

Regarding Japan’s election today, the results are still not all in yet, but it’s winding down and the 民主党 (Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)) is winning in a landslide.
This is an upset victory because the 自由民主党 (Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)) has won nearly every national election in Japan since the end of WWII. The current Japanese Prime Minister (Taro Asou) is the president of the LDP.

The next Prime Minister of Japan will more than likely be 鳩山由紀夫 (Yukio Hatoyama).

鳩山由紀夫 (Yuki Hatoyama)

鳩山由紀夫 (Yuki Hatoyama)

On this day in August…

5 Aug

◎ Forty-seven years ago today (1962 August 5), Marilyn Monroe died.
Did you know that in January 1954, she and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio traveled to Japan for their honeymoon?

◎ Tomorrow (August 6) is the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) by the U.S.
August 9th will be the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Last year at this time, I wrote a post about the anniversary of this sad event that includes the last letter written by a kamikaze pilot to his young daughter. (Click here to read it).

◎ 2009 August 15 will mark the day that Japan surrendered and ended World War 2 sixty-four years ago.
Last year, I wrote a post about this day too. (Click here to see it.)

War is terrible. And it’s known that Japan did many bad things during World War 2, but so did every country involved. Including the “Allies”.
Most people agree that it’s best that Japan lost World War 2…but dropping an atomic bomb shouldn’t have been done, and definitely should never be done again.

This is the BBC documentary “Hiroshima” (89 min):

Have you ever heard of 山口彊 (Tsutomu Yamaguchi)?
He’s the only person known to have survived both the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

tsutomu_yamaguchi

山口彊 (Tsutomu Yamaguchi)

His hometown is 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan), but on 1945 August 6 he went to 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) on a business trip.
He suffered burns, ear and eye damage when the “Little Boy” bomb was dropped on Hiroshima while he was there.
Because of his injuries, he was sent back to a hospital in his hometown. So he was in Nagasaki when the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped on that city!
He had misfortune of having been in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki when they were atomic bombed. But was lucky to have survived both times.

◎ August 15 – 17 will be the 40th anniversary of the “Woodstock Music & Art Fair“.

Woodstock promo poster

Woodstock promo poster

That famous three-day music festival occurred the year I was born. 1969.
I understand it was a major era-defining event for Americans who were teenagers or young adults at that time.
Personally, I don’t think I would’ve gone to Woodstock even if I was my parents’ age.
I’m not a big on music festivals. I like concerts…but all day music festivals with numerous performers seems too much to me. (Summer music festivals are currently very popular in Japan right now. The three-day “Summer Sonic” is scheduled for this weekend near Tokyo and Osaka. Others are “Fuji Rock Festival“, “Rock In Japan“, “Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival“, etc., but I have never gone to one.)

Also, I wouldn’t have gone to Woodstock because I don’t like the “hippie folk music” that was performed there. The only bands on the set-list that seem half-way decent to me are Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix.

If I went to a music festival, it’d be the “Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival“, “Crüe Fest“, or “OzzFest“.

Ozzy Osbourne's "OzzFest"

Ozzy Osbourne's "OzzFest"

Today…

4 Jun

Today was my youngest two daughters’ 運動会 (Sports Day Event) at their Junior High School.
It was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but was postponed until today because it rained last Saturday. (I wrote about it on an earlier post. Click here to read it.)

I wasn’t able to attend their 運動会 (Sports Day Event) because I had to work…but my wife went and videotaped it. So I’ll be able to watch it.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of the 六四天安門事件 (4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests) in 天安門広場 (Tiananmen Square) in China.

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

Tiananmen Square protest of 1989

And tomorrow will be my oldest daughter’s High School 運動会 (Sports Day event).

Also tomorrow is the 57th birthday of Nicko McBrain.
Certainly you know that Nicko McBrain is the drummer for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden!

maiden

Iron Maiden's "Eddie" mascot.

This week’s tragic news…

5 Apr

Some terrible news from around the world this week…

    A rash of shootings in America:

  • On Friday, April 3, a man barricaded the back door of an immigrant center in Binghamton, NY, USA with his car, then went in through the front door and began shooting people.
    He killed thirteen people before killing himself.

  • On Saturday, April 4, a father in Graham, Washington, USA shot his five children (ages 7 – 16) to death and then killed himself.
  • Also on Saturday, April 4, police in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA responded to a call about domestic violence. When they arrived at the house, a 23-year-old man wearing a bullet-proof vest shot the three responding officers.
    SWAT officers arrived soon after but were unable to help the shot officers for hours because the man in the house held them at bay with gunfire.
    By the time the three officers who were shot were retrieved by the SWAT team, they had bled to death.
    And possibly due to global warming:

  • A large ice bridge in the Antarctic Ocean has collapsed.
    Scientists say it was holding a huge ice shelf in place and now that it’s fallen, the ice shelf (which is the size of Jamaica) will begin to float away which may cause it to melt and raise the sea level.
  • Not totally unexpected, but North Korea launched the missile* that it had been getting ready.
    (*North Korea claims that it isn’t a missile…but a satellite.)
    It flew over Japan. Part of it landed in 日本海 (the Sea Of Japan) and the main part of the missile flew over Japan and landed in 太平洋 (the Pacific Ocean).
    If any part of the missile entered Japan’s land, air, or sea borders, Japan was prepared to shoot it down.
    Here is a YouTube video of CNN‘s coverage of the launch and Japan’s reaction:

Japan-related news…

18 Feb

Did you hear these news stories? What do you think?

  • Hillary Clinton, the current U.S. Secretary Of State is currently in Tokyo on her first official overseas trip for her new position.
    It’s the first time a U.S. Secretary Of State begin a overseas tour in Asia.
  • Japanese baseball players Ichiro, Daisuke Matsuzaka and other Japanese baseball players are back in Japan from America to play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
    The Japan team will play China in the first game of the tournament on March 5 at the Tokyo Dome. The final game is scheduled for March 23 in Los Angeles, USA.
  • The Japanese Finance Minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, gave a press conference last weekend at a G-7 meeting in Rome, Italy last weekend…while he was drunk!
    He resigned his position today.
    Here’s a video of his embarrassing act:

    (Not that it excuses his behavior. But it seems that Nakagawa-san wasn’t the first politician to give a drunken speech at a G-7 conference…politicians from other countries have done the same. Kinda makes me wonder how productive G-7 meetings are!)

20 Years Ago

7 Jan

From December 1926 until January 7, 1989, the 昭和天皇 (Showa Emperor), (also called Emperor Hirohito in Western countries…but in Japan, that’s never done) was the reigning Emperor.

Those years are called the 昭和時代 (Showa Era) and lasted just over 63 years. January 1-6, 1989 are the year 昭和64年 (Showa 64).

On January 7, 1989, the 昭和天皇 (Showa Emperor) died and his eldest son became the current 平成天皇 (Heisei Emperor).

January 7, 1989 began the 平成時代 (Heisei Era). So, even though the 今上天皇 (current Emperor) began his reign twenty years ago today…this year, 2009, is 平成21年 (Heisei 21) because 1989 was 平成1年 (Heisei 1).

Also, April 10 will be the 50th wedding anniversary of the 今上天皇 (current Emperor) and the 皇后 (Empress). So, this year (2009) is a big year for the 今上天皇 (current Emperor)…twenty years as Emperor and fifty years married.

So, in honor of his 20th anniversary as Emperor and his 50th wedding anniversary this year, November 12th will be a legal holiday in Japan…this year only.

Why November 12th if today (January 7) is the anniversary of his father’s death and the day he became the 今上天皇 (current Emperor) and his wedding anniversary is on April 10?

November 12, 2009 will be the date of the one-time-only holiday because the coronation of the 今上天皇 (current Emperor) took place on November 12, 1990.

December 8th

8 Dec

Today is 十二月八日 (December 8th). The 67th anniversary of 真珠湾攻撃 (the attack on Pearl Harbor). Actually, America observes it on December 7 because the attack occurred on Sunday, December 7, 1941 Hawaii time…but in Japan, it was already Monday, December 8, 1941 (due to the time difference).

uss-arizona

The anniversary of 真珠湾攻撃 (the attack on Pearl Harbor) is observed more in America than here in Japan, of course. In Japan, the WW2 anniversaries that are observed are the dates of atomic bombings of Japan (on August 6th and 9th) and the war’s end (on August 15th).

(Click here to read my post about the anniversary of the atomic bombing, click here to read my post about the anniversary of Japan’s surrender, and click here to read my interview with an American WW2 pilot.).

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Today is also the 28th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon (of the English band “The Beatles“), who was shot and killed on 千九百八十年十二月八日 月曜日」 (Monday, December 8, 1980) in New York City.

paper-lennon

I remember when I heard the news. I was eleven years old, and I had many classic rock albums (vinyl) that were given to me by my father and my uncle…including Pink Floyd, Cream, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith…and The Beatles. So, I knew who John Lennon was, and I was shocked that he was killed! Especially by a self-proclaimed Beatles fan!

Mark Chapman asked John Lennon to autograph the new (at that time) John Lennon / Yoko Ono album, “Double Fantasy” (which he did)…then he shot John Lennon in the back four times.

chapman1

(Mark Chapman’s police mugshot)

doublefantasy

(“Double Fantasy”)

John Lennon’s Japanese widow, オノ・ヨウコ (Yoko Ono) is in Tokyo for a concert to commemorate the 28th anniversary of John Lennon’s passing with a concert at the famous 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan) called “John Lennon Super Live“.
At the promotion for the concert last week, she distributed pieces of a smashed clay pot that she made…and asked everyone who received a piece to return in ten years so that the pot can be reassembled.

Do you know that the world’s only official “John Lennon Museum” is in Japan?
It’s at the さいたまスーパー・アリーナ (Saitama Super Arena) near さいたま新都心駅 (Saitama Shintoshin Station) not too far from Tokyo.
Admission is ¥1500.

U.S. Election

5 Nov

As everyone around the world knows, the 2008 U.S. Presidental election is over and Barack Obama will take office as the President of the United States in January 2009.

Just as many world leaders did, the Prime Minister of Japan offered his congratulations to Obama:

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Senator Obama on his election as president of the United States of America.

Working together with President-elect Obama, I will strive to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and to resolve various challenges the international community faces when addressing issues such as the international economy, terrorism and the environment…

内閣総理大臣麻生太郎 (Tarou Asou, Prime Minister of Japan)

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Also, as I said in this post, the Japanese city of 小浜 (Obama) has supported Barack Obama ever since he became a candidate for the U.S. presidency. They sent him gifts (and they received a reply letter from his office with a couple words written in 日本語 (Japanese)).

The city of Obama has “Obama hula dancers” and souvenirs with Barack Obama’s image on them.

They’re considering making Barack Obama an honorary citizen of the town.

Of course, the reason for all of this is because Obama is a small town in western Japan that was losing money and the town’s mayor saw an opportunity to attract tourists…and it’s working. Suddenly the town is getting many visitors…some of them from overseas.

The tourism campaign is called “Obama For Obama“.

The mayor anticipates the town of Obama will become a world-famous vacation destination now that Barack Obama won the election.

The “Obama Hula Dancers” hope to perform at Barack Obama’s inauguration in January, by the way.